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The Joey Bishop Show (1961)
Remembering The Joey Bishop Show running on two major television networks..the switch
During the 1960's color boom,many television programs that were on the air at the time went from black and white to color,and there was one series in particular where the switch occurred during its entire four season run of Joey Bishop's early sitcom series. Interesting points about Joey Bishop's sitcom by the way..."The Joey Bishop Show" was one of three spin-offs that was based on Danny Thomas' classic television series "Make Room For Daddy"(that also spun-off The Andy Griffith Show, The Bill Dana Show,and Make Room For Granddaddy)that was created by Danny Thomas and Louis F. Edelman where Danny Thomas served as the show's executive producer along with producer Milt Josefburg and was produced and filmed at Desilu Studios under Danny Thomas Enterprises and Bellmar Productions. A total of 123 episodes were produced.
The series lasted four seasons on the air and was on two major television networks running from September 20,1961 until March 30, 1965. First it ran for three seasons at NBC from September 20,1961 until May 30,1964 for 97 episodes. Then moved to CBS in its final season for 26 episodes from September 27,1964 until March 30,1965. Season One of The Joey Bishop Show was in black and white for 34 episodes airing from September 20,1961 until May 9,1962 where it was on Wednesday nights in prime time opposite "Checkmate" and the animated "Top Cat". The first season saw Joey Bishop's character as Joey Barnes who worked as a Hollywood public relations firm and was living with his parents and his younger sister(Marlo Thomas),and younger brother(Warren Berlinger) along with his older sister (Virginia Vincent),and her unemployed husband(Joe Flynn). Marlo Thomas appeared on just only 19 episodes of Season One and was dropped after the first season ended along with the supporting cast.
The show's second season saw numerous changes as the series was moved from Wednesday nights to Saturday nights with a new format and new cast for 34 color episodes airing from September 15,1962 until May 11,1963. In this new format Joey Barnes is the host of a New York City talk/variety show with his new wife Ellie(Abby Dalton)and there new child. Also added to the cast were Corbett Monica as Joey's head writer, Joe Besser(of Three Stooges fame) as the henpecked superintendent of their apartment building and Guy Marks who played Joey's manager along with Mary Treen as the Barnes' housekeeper and head nurse with whom Joey frequently trades insults. The third season which was also on Saturday nights would be the last at NBC in color where it produced 31 episodes airing from September 21,1963 until May 30, 1964.
After it was abruptly canceled by NBC in the Spring of 1964 the series was picked up by CBS in it's fourth and final season where the series was reverse back to black and white for 26 episodes on CBS' Sunday night line up airing from September 27, 1964 until March 30,1965. Only Joey Bishop was with the series throughout its entire run in all 123 episodes. Actress Abby Dalton appeared in 90 episodes from 1962- 1965. Corbett Monica appeared in 73 episodes from 1962- 1965. Mary Treen appeared in 67 episodes from 1962-1965.
Interesting note about "The Joey Bishop Show"...that it featured several celebrity guest stars who appeared as themselves ranging from The Andrews Sisters to Jack Benny, Bill Dana, Don Drysdale, Milton Berle, Jack Carter, Andy Williams, Jack Paar, Bobby Rydell, Don Knotts, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Junior, Jerry Lewis, Edgar Bergen, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Goulet, Danny Thomas, Sheldon Leonard to Zsa Zsa Gabor, Frank Howard, Vic Damone, and Jack Jones just to name a few of celebrities that were on the show. Not to mention special guest stars ranging from Nancy Kulp, Raymond Bailey, Joi Lansing, Lee Van Cleef, Dawn Wells, Burt Mustin, Jack Albertson, Henry Gibson, Dick Martin, Sterling Holloway, Rusty Hamer, Marjorie Lord, Neville Brand, John Astin, Vivian Vance, Jackie Coogan, Sue Ann Langdon just to name a few of the guest stars not to mention walk on cameos as well(which included Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and the members of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team in another episode).
The fourth and final season saw a dramatic change as it was moved to Sunday nights where it was opposite television's Number One show "Bonanza" that clobbered it in the ratings. When it was canceled in the Spring of 1965, CBS replaced it along with another sitcom "My Living Doll" with the hour long courtroom drama "Perry Mason"(which was in its ninth and final season) in which in the fall of that year CBS programming made the jump to color.
Classic Chuck Jones Animation On Its Finest Hour..Remembering the classic television special How The Grinch Stole Christmas on its 50th anniversary
Fifty years ago in 1966, there was a television special that was released in a midst of a wave of animated holiday specials and it is right up there with "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer"(1964), and "A Charlie Brown Christmas"(1965) that went on become as classics. "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was originally intended to be released as a theatrical short ended up going to television under the direction of legendary animator Chuck Jones(who was also the producer along with Ted Geisel)along with assistant director Ben Washam. It was based on the eponymous 1957 famous children's book by Ted Geisel(aka Dr. Seuss) about a mean spirit Grinch who wrecks havoc of the Who's of Whoville as he tries to take Christmas away from them is a must see from beginning to end. But also finds a way to return the kindness to the people he stole from. Featuring the voice of the great Boris Karloff as The Grinch(who also serves as the narrator)along with the additional voices of June Foray and Thurl Ravenscroft(who was also the voice of Tony The Tiger for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes Cereals) with music and lyrics by Albert Hague and Eugene Poddany. So successful that the animated special in 1967 won the Grammy Award for Best Children's Recording In The Spoken Word to Boris Karloff-the only major award of his astounding long career in film and television. Thurl Ravenscroft also received Grammy nominations for his work.
The half-hour television special "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was originally telecast as "A CBS Special Presentation In Color" airing on Sunday December 18,1966 where it aired in prime time at the 7:00 eastern/6:00 central time slot where the special preempted "Lassie" in its regular time slot and faced strong competition it faced when it aired during the first half of "Voyage of the Bottom of the Sea",and the second half of "The Bell Telephone Hour" and from the ratings it received from it's original telecast "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was a colossal hit...becoming the most watched television special in its time slot. The original sponsors during its initial telecast were The Coca-Cola Bottling Company and the Foundation for Commercial Banks. So successful that CBS aired the special annually ever December until 1987. After it's initial network run on CBS,the animated special moved over to Ted Turner's Turner Network Television(TNT) and Superstation WTBS which was also TBS(Turner Broadcasting System) where it was shown annually from 1988-1995. Then in 1995 it was moved again over to the WB Television Network where it shown annually twice from 1995-2006. From 2006-2014 it came back to network television this time over to ABC where it aired twice annually on that network until 2014. As of August 13,2015 it moved over to NBC where it would be shown twice annually during the Christmas season. As of December 18,2016 NBC will air the special in honor of its 50th anniversary.
The phenomenal success of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" spawned two animated specials that were telecast between 1977 and 1982. On October 29,1977, ABC aired the television special titled "Halloween Is Grinch Night" that was a prequel to the classic holiday season that was produced by Ted Geisel along with executive producers David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng under there production company DePatie-Freleng Enterprises that won the Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Children's Special in 1977. On May 20,1982 ABC aired another animated television special titled "The Grinch Grinches The Cat In The Hat" that was also produced and created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and produced by Ted Geisel(featured the voices of Mason Adams and Bob Holt). A feature- length live theatrical feature "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was released in 2004 starring Jim Carrey and directed by Ron Howard and coming in 2018 a 3-D animated feature film based on the classic Dr. Seuss story featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch will come to theaters in late-2018.
Even after more than 50 years...this animated special still entertains. Happy Anniversary...Mr. Grinch!!!
The architect and the blueprint of the Police Dramas. Remembering the one and only "Dragnet" television series on its 65th anniversary
As we commemorate the 65th golden anniversary of one of the greatest if not the architectural format of the police drama it is evident to see why after all these years why "Dragnet" has stood the test of time. "Dragnet" was directly responsible for the maturation and realistic portrayal of police dramas(that set the tone for other police dramas to follow). In cooperation and support of the Los Angeles Police Department,"Dragnet" set out to do what no other drama has done and it mainly focused on the actual police stories as it follow a strict system of coordinated measures to apprehend criminals and suspects. Jack Webb the show's creator-producer-director-and actor(under his production company Mark VII Limited) was largely responsible for this. And to see why "Dragnet" was such a success that it lasted into a franchise that still to this day phenomenal beyond expectations.
The program opened each week with these words from Detective-Sargent Joe Friday: "This is the city. Los Angeles,California. I work here. I carry a badge." Dragnet's hallmark was its appearance of realism that were actual cases that were from the files of the Los Angeles Police Department to the documentary style narration by Joe Friday,to the accuracy and sheer detail of police work(9:15...It was sunny in Los Angeles we were working the day watch out of homicide...the boss is Captain Perry, my partner is Frank Smith. my name's Friday).
The origins of "Dragnet" first began on radio for NBC that premiered on June 3,1949 lasting until July 26,1957 for 314 episodes. Then after its success of radio made the transition to television on December 16,1951 where it was one of the biggest television hits in the history of NBC lasting eight seasons and 276 black-and-white episodes until August 23,1959 when Jack Webb abruptly pull the plug on the series during which garnered high ratings. Then after an eight year hiatus "Dragnet" returned to NBC in a new format that lasted three seasons and 98 Technicolor episodes airing from January 12,1967 until April 16,1970. NBC was set to keep Dragnet on for a fifth season until the show's creator-producer Jack Webb pull the plug on the show at the end of its fourth and final season due to other reasons. "Dragnet" also spawned two more versions of the show. On October 24,1989 the syndicated "The New Dragnet" produced 52 episodes lasting until January 21,1991. Even creator and producer Dick Wolf(of "Law and Order") revised a new version titled "L.A. Dragnet" for ABC that lasted a mere season and 22 episodes from May 11, 2003 until May 5, 2004. The success of the television series also spawned two theatrical features. At the height of show's success on TV, Warner Brothers Pictures in 1954 released in theaters "Dragnet",and in 1987 Universal Pictures released in theaters a comedy version of "Dragnet" with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks with a appearance by Harry Morgan(who played Officer Bill Gannon in the revised version of the television series).
"Dragnet" had a documentary style approach on how police procedures worked and the detectives that handled the cases since audiences had no idea on how the suspects were captured and brought to justice. Just before the show took its final commercial break,the show's announcer would inform the audience of something that was related to the case. Here is an example: "On July 20th,trial was held in Department 184 Superior Court of the State of California,in and for the county of Los Angeles. In a moment the results of that trial." Then after the break the camera faded in for what was presumably the perpetrator's mug shot consisting of him or her standing uncomfortably against the wall where the results of the trial were announced where the perpetrator's name and fate were superimposed on the screen. Here is an example: "The suspects were found guilty of.....and the sentence was punishable for no more than a maximum of...." which was the case where they are being committed for their crime. The success of Dragnet won five Prime-Time Emmys for Best Mystery Program, Best Outstanding Actor(Jack Webb), Best Supporting Actor, Photography, and Outstanding Direction(Jack Webb) and was Nominated for 12. Dragnet was nominated for 2 Directors Guild Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement and in 1953 won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Episode and Outstanding Writing.
Even after more than 65 years later "Dragnet" is still one of the more realistic cop dramas ever produced and it is evident to see why it has lasted longer and has other cop shows using its formula. Jack Webb was an architect of the police drama format. A testimony that still holds up to this day. Happy 65th Anniversary "Dragnet".....Jack Webb.....
I Love Lucy (1951)
The greatest sitcom ever....Remembering the one and only "I Love Lucy" original television series on its 65th golden anniversary
First of all, this was the sitcom of sitcoms. Every aspect of the show's premise was implausible and innovative. This was an extraordinary accomplishment in entertainment when it premiered in 1951. And it was the first-ever sitcom to feature a woman as a main character which was not only rare but taking a huge step forward during the golden age of television in the early-1950's. "I Love Lucy" was rebellious and controversial but in turn had some of the most hilarious episodes ever conceived for television. And even some 65 years after it premiered on television the series is still going strong in syndicated repeats in dozens of languages across the world and still to this day remains popular with an American audience of 40 million each year. As for the series itself it has stood the test of time. "I Love Lucy" made television history as being the first scripted television program to be shot on 35mm film and was in front of a studio audience. From the first episode of "I Love Lucy" on October 15,1951 the show was a instant hit on CBS' Prime Time Monday night schedule for the remainder of it's six- year run producing 181 episodes(which includes the "lost" Christmas episode and the original pilot)until the final episode of the series on May 6,1957 all in classic black-and-white. "I Love Lucy" aired on Monday nights in Prime-Time for the remainder of its run at the 9:00 eastern/8:00 central time slot.
About the production team behind "I Love Lucy". The series was produced by Desi Arnaz who served as executive producer(under his production company Desilu Productions)for 158 episodes of the series from 1952 to 1957. Jess Oppenheimer was producer for 155 episodes from 1951-1956. Marc Daniels directed 33 episodes of the series from 1951-1953. William Asher directed 101 episodes of the series from 1952-1957. James V. Kern took over directorial duties in the final two seasons of the series from 1955-1957. Jess Oppenheimer was one of the writers for Seasons 1 thru 5. Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf came on board during the last two seasons of the series. Only writers Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll Jr., were the only principal writers that were with the series throughout its entire six year-run. Lucille Ball kept the same principal writers for other shows including "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Show", "The Lucy Show",and "Here's Lucy". Only actors Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz along with Vivian Vance and William Frawley were the only principal cast players that were with the series throughout its entire run.
The phenomenal success of "I Love Lucy" won five Prime-Time Emmys for Best Situation Comedy Series and Best Actress in a Series between 1952 and 1957 and was nominated for an impressive eight. "I Love Lucy" was during the four of its six seasons was the top rated show on television and was the first series in its final season to end its run at the top of the Nielsens(which was an accomplishment later only matched by "The Andy Griffith Show" in 1968 and "Seinfeld" in 1998).
The guest star roster of who's who of Hollywood greats appear on this series including the hilarious episode where "Lucy Meets Superman" played by George Reeves as Superman!!! And other Hollywood greats include appearances by Richard Widmark, John Wayne, William Holden, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Charles Boyer, Rock Hudson, Hedda Hopper, Van Johnson, Harpo Marx, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Orson Welles, Claude Akins, Joi Lansing and Cornel Wilde. Speaking of the greatest episodes from "I Love Lucy" there are several that are considered classics among them "Lucy Does A TV Commercial"(Season 1, Episode 30), "Lucy's Italian Movie"(Season 5, Episode 23); "Job Switching"(Season 2, Episode 1); "The Camping Trip"(Season 2, Episode 29); "Lucy Is Enceinte" (Season 2, Episode 10); "The Black Wig"(Season 3, Episode 26); "Hollywood at Last"(Season 4, Episode 16)are just some of the hilarious episodes this series had.
Even after 65 years "I Love Lucy" remains one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history and its a milestone that will never be surpassed or equaled. First you had Lucille Ball's astounding flair for comedy top it off with some of outlandish moments that even to this day still entertains. Happy 65th anniversary to one of the great sitcoms of all time....Here's to you Lucy!!!!
Hill Street Blues (1981)
Remembering the police drama Hill Street Blues on its 35th anniversary
The series "Hill Street Blues" premiered on NBC's Prime Time schedule on January 15,1981 as the mid-season replacement for two canceled NBC shows("A Man Called Sloane" and "Good Time Harry")that became one of the greatest police dramas of the 1980's that was nominated for an impressive 98 Prime Time Emmys and was victorious in winning 8 Prime Time Emmys during its first season for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Writing and Direction, Outstanding Actor in a Prime Time Series, Outstanding Actress in a Prime Time Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Prime Time Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Prime Time Series. This was debut season record that was held until 2000 when another critically acclaimed NBC series "The West Wing" surpassed it winning 9 Prime Time Emmys for Outstanding Television Series. "Hill Street Blues" was nominated for 4 Golden Globes and was victorious in winning 3 Golden Globes in 1982, 1983 and 1984 for Best Outstanding Television Series.
For the seven seasons and 146 episodes it produced while on the air the series aired as the mid-season replacement on January 15,1981 where it aired on Thursday nights at the 10:00 eastern/9:00 central time slot until January 17,1981 when the network moved the series to Saturday nights until March 21,1981. Then NBC moved "Hill Street Blues" again from Saturday nights to Tuesday nights in order to save it from cancellation within its first season where it was placed at the 9:00 eastern/8:00 central time slot from March 28,1981 until May 26,1981. Then from Seasons 2 thru 6, the show was placed on Thursday nights in Prime-Time becoming one of NBC's "Must See" dramas on it's successful prime time line-up at the 10:00 eastern/9:00 central time slot where it remained from October 29,1981 until April 3,1986. By the show's seventh and final season saw the show remaining on Thursday nights on October 2,1986 until November 27,1986 on the same exact time slot. Then on December 2,1986 it moved from Thursday nights to Tuesday nights from March 3,1987 until the series finale on May 12,1987.
"Hill Street Blues" was the brainchild of creators Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoil(who also served as executive producers of this series) along with producer Gregory Hoblit. The series was produced by MTM Productions(Mary Tyler Moore's production company and then ex-husband Grant Tinker). MTM Productions not only created Mary Tyler Moore's sitcom of the 1970's but also created "The White Shadow","Newhart", "Rhoda","St. Elsewhere", "Remington Steele", "WKRP In Cincinnati","The Tony Randall Show",and "The Bob Newhart Show" just to name a few. Interesting point about the actors associated with "Hill Street Blues". out of the 146 episodes it produced only actors Daniel J. Travanti, Veronica Hamel, Micheal Conrad, Michael Warren, Betty Thomas, Joe Spano, Charles Haid, Dennis Franz, Bruce Weitz, Jon Cypher, Taurean Blacque and Kiel Martin were with the series throughout its entire seven season run.
It's evident that this series had some of the best writers that gave this series the must see television of the decade ranging from the creators Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoil along with Dick Wolf, David Milch, Anthony Yerkovich, Jeffrey Lewis, David Mamet, Walon Green, Robert Ward and had top notch directors from Christian Nyby, David Anspaugh, Thomas Carter, George Stanford-Brown, Bill Duke, Stan Lathan, Jack Starlett, Corey Allen, Alexander Singer, Gabrielle Beaumont, Randa Haines, Oz Scott, Arnold Laven, Don Weis, Rick Wallace, and Robert Butler who contribute to some of the fantastic and riveting episodes this series had.
Top notch guest stars from David Caruso, James Remar, Howard Rollins, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Lauren Holly, Jennifer Tilly, Lindsay Crouse, Dan Hedaya, Jane Kaczmarek, Linda Hamilton, Danny Glover, Michael Lerner, Reni Santoni, Gregory Sierra, Clarence Williams III, Anne-Marie Johnson, Edward James Olmos, Chris Noth, Dolph Sweet, Ally Sheedy, Michael Biehn, Joe Santos, Eric Laneuville, CCH Pounder, to Lynn Whitfield, Garrett Morris, James Avery, Charles Hallahan, Mimi Rogers, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Jill Eikenberry, Cuba Gooding Jr., Richard Bull, Robert Pastorelli, Alex Hyde-White, Beah Richards, Richard Romanus, Hector Elizondo, Steven Bauer, Hal Williams, Robert Davi, Scatman Crothers, Yaphet Kotto, James Murtaugh, Joanna Kerns, Don Cheadle, Dwight Schultz, Dana Elcar, Laurence Fishburne, Moses Gunn, to Beverly Todd, Keenen Ivory-Wayans, Patricia Wettig, Val Bisoglio, and Michael Ironside just to name a few of the great guest stars this series had.
From the best episodes I will start with the riveting pilot that started it all "Hill Street Station". Other great episodes "What Are Friends For?"(Season 6, Episode 9); "It Ain't Over Till It's Over'(Season 7, Episode 22); "Grace Under Pressure"(Season 4, Episode 14); "Trial By Fury"(Season 3, Episode 1); "Freedom's Last Stand"(Season 2, Episode 11); "The Rise and Fall of Paul The Wall"(Season 5, Episode 10) and many more great episodes that made "Hill Street Blues" one of the best cop dramas of the 1980's.
When NBC abruptly canceled this critically acclaimed series after seven seasons and 146 episodes, it didn't take the powers that be over at NBC long to find its replacement that also created and produced by Steven Bochco that also became NBC's "Must See" drama of the late-1980's and early-1990's which was "L.A. Law"
Mister Ed (1958)
Remembering the famous Mister Ed television series on its 55th anniversary
Being one of the silliest if not most beloved comedy/fantasy sitcoms that were so prevalent in the early-1960's was a television series about talking horse named Mister Ed. The talking palomino had a huge popularity with children of all ages and it was a series based on the skills of Alan Young making you believe that a horse could talk with the voice of Allan "Rocky" Lane(who was a "B" movie star in Westerns during the 1940's and 1950's) whose voice was well integrated into the personality of a palomino that spoke to a generation gap that continues to this day some 50 years after he went off the air,and some 55 years when the series began.
Mister Ed may have been silly or over the top but designed as basically a children's show with adults in mind with some of the episodes seeing Mister Ed's owner Wilbur Post(Alan Young)being frustrated to no end as Mister Ed always ends up along with Wilbur getting into one hilarious mischief adventure after another and that also was the plot to some of the crazy over the top episodes this series had during it's run of six seasons. Based on the children's short stories by Walter Brooks along with Sonia Chernus who were the creative team behind this series along with Al Simon serving as executive producer,the series "Mister Ed" first ran in national syndication for 26 black and white episodes from January 4,1961 until July 2,1961. It was one of the few television series to debut in national syndication to be pick up by a major television network. On October 1,1961 the series was picked up by CBS-TV and remained with the network for six seasons for 130 episodes in black and white until June 16,1965. In the show's final season a total of 13 episodes were produced from September 12,1965 until February 6,1966. In all a total of 143 black and white episodes were produced. The series was produced through George Burns' production company McCadden Productions and Filmways Television airing from 1961 to 1966. The show's sponsor throughout it's entire run was The Studebaker Corporation where you got the see the actors driving around top notch Studebaker cars during the closing credits.
Out of all the cast members that were associated with this series only actors Alan Young, Connie Hines and the horse Bamboo Harvester(Mister Ed) along with the voice of Allan Lane were with the series throughout it's entire run of 143 episodes. The supporting cast were Larry Keating(appearing in 81 episodes from Seasons 1 thru 3); Edna Skinner(appearing in 86 episodes from Seasons 1 thru 4); Leon Ames(appearing in 40 episodes from Seasons 4 thru 5); Florence MacMichael(appearing in 40 episodes from Seasons 4 thru 5); Jack Albertson(appearing occasionally in 6 episodes from Seasons 2 thru 4);and Barry Kelley(also appearing occasionally in 11 episodes from Seasons 3 thru 5 and in the show's sixth and final season). Interesting note about some of the writers who were behind this series...Lou Derman wrote 129 episodes of Mister Ed while Larry Rhine wrote 52 episodes. Other writers were Ben Starr(40 episodes), Robert O'Brien(33 episodes),Bill Davenport(12 episodes),and Walter Brooks(3 episodes). Arthur Lubin directed 131 episodes of this series. Other big time directors were Ira Stewart(6 episodes), Jus Addiss, Rod Amateau, John Rich, and Alan Young. Arthur Lubin also served as director-producer of some episodes. "Mister Ed" won the Golden Globe in 1963 for Best Comedy Series. The show throughout its entire run never received an Prime Time Emmy.
Several celebrity guest stars appeared as themselves during the course of the series ranging from Clint Eastwood, Jonathan Harris, Mae West, George Burns, Leo Durocher, Jon Provost, Sebastian Cabot, Irene Ryan, Max Baer,Jr.(Jethro from "The Beverly Hillbillies"), to Neil Hamilton, Jack LaLanne, Richard Deacon, Raymond Bailey, Sharon Tate, Les Tremayne, Butch Patrick, Darby Hinton, William Bendix, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Johnny Crawford, Hayden Rorke, Donna Douglas, Alan Hale,Jr., Hans Conried, and Harold Gould, Iron Eyes Cody, Nancy Kulp,and Bobby Buntrock just to name a few of the guest stars that were with the series. Donna Douglas appeared in three episodes of Mister Ed of "Busy Wife", "Ed The Jumper",and as Clint Eastwood's girlfriend in "Clint Eastwood Meets Mister Ed".
Even after its debut more than 55 years ago it was one of the few television shows that good ratings as a kids show that adults could watch too with some of the episodes either side-splitting funny or just totally off the wall antics with Ed getting Wilbur into all sorts of trouble in just about every episode. Alan Young is no longer with us and neither is Connie Hines or Bamboo Harvester who made the show a bonafide classic of 1960's television that was surely unforgettable. Happy 55th Golden Anniversary Mister Ed!!!!
Star Trek (1966)
To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before...Remembering the original Star Trek television series on its 50th anniversary
As we celebrate the golden 50th anniversary to one of the greatest science fiction television shows ever created "Star Trek" was a 23rd- century tale of exploration and hope that became the seminal space saga of the late 20th century. With a cast that was startlingly diverse of its time and pie-in-the-sky technology we can hold in our hands today, "Star Trek" and the voyages of the Starship Enterprise have left an indelible mark on our culture,inspiring many young scientists and a supportive base of die-hard loyal fans of the original television series that has evolved into today's powerful fan culture. The initial mid- 1960's NBC series which centered on the able crew of the Enterprise as it explored strange new worlds and new civilizations, led to five more television series based on the original show("Star Trek:The Next Generation",1987-1994; "Star Trek:Deep Space Nine",1993-1999; "Star Trek:Voyager",1995-2001; "Star Trek:Enterprise", 2001-2005; "Star Trek:Discovery",in 2017), it's very own animated Saturday Morning cartoon show that also aired on NBC from 1973-1975; and thirteen theatrical feature films that is still going strong to this day.
The original "Star Trek" television series was viewed as producer- created Gene Roddenberry's answer to "Wagon Train In The Stars" and set in the frontier spectacle of outer space. The series was suppose to live longer than expected that was guaranteed at the beginning. In an era when science fiction was viewed as a not-so-desirable niche, it took two pilots to get "Star Trek" on the air,and low ratings sparked fears of cancellation. That arrived after three seasons-two years short of the Enterprise's five-year mission-despite the efforts of passionate,letter writing viewers who pleaded with network executives at NBC helped win the show in its final season. "Star Trek" during its three season run was moved around in different time slots with the third and final season of the series that proved fatal. The series premiered on NBC's Thursday prime-time schedule on September 8,1966 where it was placed at the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot where it preceded "Daniel Boone" and before "The Hero" where it went opposite "My Three Sons" and "Bewitched" for all 29 episodes in its first season until April 13,1967. On September 15,1967 the network moved the series from Thursday nights to Friday nights at the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot preceding "Tarzan" and was opposite "Hondo" and "Gomer Pyle" for all 26 episodes in season two until March 29, 1968. Then in its third and final season, Gene Roddenberry pleaded with network executives at NBC to move the series to Monday nights in an earlier time slot in order to attract a larger audience and improve ratings. The network rejected its offer. "Star Trek" was moved to a later time slot on Friday nights at the 10:00 eastern/9:00 central for all 24 episodes where it preceded the 90-minute "The Name of the Game" and was opposite "Judd for the Defense",and CBS' Friday Night Movie that clobbered it in the ratings from September 20,1968 until the final episode of the series on June 3,1969. "Star Trek" was produced from September,1966 to December,1967 by Desilu Productions and the Norway Corporation. From January,1968 to June,1969 was produced by Paramount Television and the Norway Corporation. The series produced 79 episodes in color.
Out of the actors that were with this series only actors William Shatner along with Leonard Nimoy and Deforest Kelley were the only cast members that appeared in all 79 episodes. Nichelle Nichols appeared in 70 episodes while James Doohan appeared in 66 episodes. George Takei appeared in 52 episodes and Majel Barrett appeared in 36 episodes. Walter Koenig didn't come onto the series until Season 2 and appeared in 36 episodes. Grace Lee Whitney was with the series for Season 1 only and appeared in eight episodes.
"Star Trek" during its original three season run on NBC explored science fiction conundrums, such as the effects of changing the past("The City on the Edge of Forever",Season 1, Episode 28)while dealing with modern issues-including racism("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield",Season 3,Episode 15);nuclear arms("The Doomsday Machine",Season 2,Episode 6);the fear of technological dominance("The Ultimate Computer",Season 2,Episode 24 and "The Changeling",Season 2,Episode 3),and social inequality("The Cloud Minders",Season 3,Episode 21),not to mention dealing with mutiny and treason("Court Martial",Season 1,Episode 20 and the two part episode "The Menagerie",Season 1, Episodes 11 and 12)not to mention dealing with space villains("Space Seed",Season 1, Episode 22),and other great episodes("Mirror,Mirror",Season 2, Episode 4), ("Balance of Terror",Season 1,Episode 14),("Amok Time",Season 2, Episode 1),("Journey to Babel",Season 2,Episode 10),and ("Errand of Mercy",Season 1,Episode 26). Let's not forget other great episodes that made "Star Trek" the must watch series of the mid-1960's ranging from "The Man Trap", "Arena", "The Naked Time", "The Enemy Within", the controversial "Plato's Stepchildren", to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" to "Devil In The Dark","Taste of Armageddon","This Side of Paradise", "The Corbomite Maneuver","Wolf In The Fold","The Tholian Web',the only time it venture into comedy like "The Trouble With Tribbles",and "Metamorphosis" just to name a few of the great episodes this series had even though it remained on the air for three seasons.
Even though it never won a Prime Time Emmy,"Star Trek" was nominated for an impressed 13 Prime-Time Emmy nominations(Leonard Nimoy was nominated twice for Best Supporting Actor in a Television series and won the Prime-Time Emmy for Outstanding Special Effects) and in 1967 won the NAACP Image Award for its most critically episode that was written by Harlan Ellison. Even after 50 years since its original broadcast on NBC,and to this day still airing in syndicated repeats around the world "Star Trek" still holds themes that remained relevant today...this coming from a science fiction television show that didn't do well in the ratings but became a phenomenon when it first aired in 1966. And still lives long to prosper. Happy 50th Anniversary "Star Trek"......
The Felony Squad (1966)
Excellent crime drama series....Remembering The Felony Squad television series on its 50th anniversary
Premiered on September 12, 1966 the television series "Felony Squad" was the created brainchild of two producers that were associated with Quinn Martin even though the series was not associated with Quinn Martin Productions but through a different company. Two of the producers of this series consisted of Walter Grauman(who was a producer and director of several Quinn Martin produced shows like "The New Breed", "The Fugitive", "Twelve O'Clock High", "The FBI",and "The Invaders" to name a few),and producer Phillip Saltzman(who was one of the writers for several Quinn Martin produced shows),along with creator Richard Murphy who also served as executive producer of this series along with Walter Grauman and Richard Newton, the police crime drama series "Felony Squad" was a half-hour television cop show that premiered on ABC's Prime-Time schedule that lasted three seasons and produced 73 episodes in color until January 31,1969. For the first two seasons of the show's run it aired in Prime-Time on Monday nights with 30 episodes each for both Seasons 1 and 2. For its first season, the series aired at the 9:00 eastern/8:00 central time slot where it preceded "The Rat Patrol" and before "Peyton Place" and went opposite against "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Perry Como Kraft Music Hall". The second season also went opposite "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Danny Thomas Comedy Hour" where it preceded "The Rat Patrol",and "Peyton Place". In the fall of 1968, ABC moved the series from Monday nights to Friday nights, a move that proved disastrous where it scheduled to the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot where it preceded "Operation:Entertainment",and before the short-lived "The Don Rickles Show" and it was opposite "The Name of the Game",and "Gomer Pyle, USMC" that killed it in the ratings that produced 13 episodes in its final season until January 31, 1969.
This crime drama series starred Howard Duff(as Sergeant Sam Stone),and Dennis Cole(as Detective Jim Briggs)as investigators in a major crimes unit based on modern-day mid-1960's Los Angeles that were associated with the Los Angeles Police Department. Howard Duff's character was the veteran who was teaching his younger partner the facets of police work while teaching him the life lessons of detective work within the police department. Another main character was the desk sergeant Dan Briggs(portrayed by former "Dragnet" actor Ben Alexander)who was the father of Dennis Cole's character. The cases the squad handles deals with the regular procedures that they encounter while on the beat which gave way to some great episodes this series had even though it lasted a half-hour. Big name directors like George McCowan, Allen Reisner, Lawrence Dobkin, Robert Butler, Lee H. Katzin, Gene Nelson, Tom Gries, to Richard Donner, Gerd Oswald, Laslo Benedek, Vincent McEveety, Jud Taylor, Walter Grauman, William Hale and even Howard Duff contribute to some of the excellent episodes.
Big name writers from Richard Murphy, Don Brinkley, Franklin Barton, Harold Gast, Robert Heverly, Phillip Saltzman, Mark Rodgers, Jack Turley, Lee Erwin, Howard Gast, Ellis Kadison, John Kneubuhl, to Don Tait. Big name guest stars ranging from Barney Phillips, Kevin McCarthy, James Daly, Harold J. Stone, Lynda Day George, Vic Tayback, Joe Don Baker, Roddy McDowell, Ricardo Montalban, James Best, Lloyd Haynes, Darren McGavin, Kevin Hagen, Patricia Barry, Beau Bridges, Ed Asner, to Marj Dusay, Fritz Weaver, Robert Duvall, Cleavon Little, Martin Milner, Simon Oakland, Gerald S. O'Laughlin, Brock Peters, Pat Hingle, Harold Gould, Lana Wood, Scott Brady, Mark Lenard, Jack Hogan, Will Kuluva, to Carl Betz, Diana Muldaur, Joanne Linville, Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., Ellen Corby, Beah Richards, Paul Mantee, George Takei, Eric Shea, Susan Flannery, Ivan Dixon, Cicely Tyson, Joanna Moore, Russell Johnson, to Joan Van Ark, Richard Dreyfuss, Andrew Prine, Roy Jenson and Michael Callan.
The best episodes that came from this short-lived police drama series let me started with the show's pilot episode "The Streets Are Paved With Quicksand" to the two-part episodes "The Night of the Shark", "An Arrangement With Death", "The Flip Side of Fear", "The Nowhere Man" to "A Conspiracy of Power". Other great episodes from "Felony Squad" were "Target!", "A Blueprint for Dying", "The Immaculate Killer", "Let Him Die!", "The 30-Gram Kill", "A Date With Terror",and "The Law and Order Blues" When this series was abruptly canceled in early-1969 the series was replaced by two comedies that were placed on ABC's Friday Night schedule that included the short-lived "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town" and by the winter of 1970 was replaced by "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."....even though it lasted three seasons and 73 episodes the short-lived "Felony Squad" was a great cop show with excellent episodes and great acting even though it remains one of the "under-rated" of the astounding police dramas of the mid-1960's on the eve of its 50th anniversary.
Lord of the Jungle...Remembering the original "Tarzan" television series on its 50th anniversary
In commemoration of the show's 50th Anniversary Edgar Rice Burroughs' character was played by several different actors over the years not to mention a series that has it's origin going back to Johnny Weissmuller, Lex Barker, Gordon Scott, Jock Mahoney,and Mike Henry. Producer Sy Weintraub(who took over the "Tarzan" franchise in the mid-1950's after Sol. L. Lesser) was trying to bring "Tarzan" to television as early as 1958,but the project never got off the ground. By the early-1960's the "Tarzan" films were still theatrical releases,but it wasn't until the mid-1960's when the franchise went into a new medium. Gordon Scott was replaced by Jock Mahoney who abandoned the role in 1963 who lost out to football player turned actor Mike Henry. Henry made three theatrical "Tarzan" films between 1966-1968 and was originally cast for the television version of the series,but declined after some bad experiences while shooting the 1967 theatrical picture "Tarzan and the Great River". In a desperate search,the producers along with Sy Weintraub finally was able to bring "Tarzan" to television as a weekly series by casting Ron Ely in the title role. Ron Ely who was 28-years old when he got the part of playing the 14th "Tarzan" on television while Mike Henry still played him in the movies. Ron Ely had a strong resume of several films and television series to his credit including the films "South Pacific", "The Fiend That Walked The West", "The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker",not to mention "The Night of the Grizzly", and in the TV-series "How to Marry a Millionaire" from 1957-1959. Ron Ely was cast in another series "The Aquanauts" that lasted one season from 1960-1961.
The television version based on Edgar Rice Burroughs character retained many of the trappings of the classic movie series including Cheeta The Chimp and a boy sidekick(Manuel Padilla,Jr.) leaving the character Jane on the cutting room floor. Under the production of Sy Weintraub who also served as executive producer under his production company Banner Productions and Starring Ron Ely as "Tarzan" made its television premiere in prime-time on NBC's Friday Night schedule on September 9,1966 for 57 episodes and two seasons,filmed on location in parts of Central America and Mexico in full color until April 5,1968. After NBC canceled the series in 1968,"Tarzan" enjoy a resurgence in summer repeats for CBS airing from May 22, 1969 until August 30, 1969. "Tarzan" the television series on Friday nights faced strong competition during its two seasons on the air opposite "The Wild Wild West" and "The Green Hornet" in Season 1 and in its Second and final Season opposite "Off The See The Wizard","Hondo" and the wildly popular "The Wild Wild West". Several episodes of the "Tarzan" television series were two part episodes that were strung together and actually shown in theaters as feature length films that were released under Banner Productions and National General Pictures. The "Tarzan" television series produced 57 episodes all in color with 32 episodes in Season 1 and 25 episodes in Season 2. Actors that had recurring appearances on this series were Maurice Evans, Julie Harris, along with Chips Rafferty and Woody Strode appear in numerous episodes.
Even though this series was attacked by critics,"Tarzan" was indeed a series that was action-packed throughout with breathtaking excitement and high adventure each week. Basically throughout production, Ron Ely did all of his own stunts and took it seriously. But yet check out the big name directors that were associated with this series from William Witney, Robert Day, Barry Shear, Anton Leader, Robert L. Friend, Charles S. Dubin, William Wiard, R.G. Springsteen and Hollingsworth Morse along with Paul Stanley,James Komack, Alan Crosland, Jr. and even Ron Ely himself directed an episode. Big name writers ranging from Jackson Gillis, Richard and Esther Shapiro, Wells Root, Carey Wilber, Don Brinkley, Samuel Newman, John Hawkins and Lawrence Dobkin.
The guest star roster for this series consisted of James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Don Mitchell, Don Marshall, Raymond St. Jacques, Brock Peters,Rosie Grier, Diana Sands, Rafer Johnson, Clarence Williams III, Hari Rhodes, to William Marshall, Bernie Hamilton, Lloyd Haynes, Yaphet Kotto, Nichelle Nichols, George Stanford-Brown, Diana Ross(and the Supremes),to James MacArthur, Jock Mahoney, Sam Jaffe, Michael Witney, Simon Oakland, Ethel Merman, George Kennedy, Sally Kellerman, Russ Tamblyn, John Dehner, Antoinette Bower, Fernando Lamas, Peter Whitney, Pat Conway, Michael Dunn, James Whitmore, Warren Stevens, Neville Brand, Morgan Woodward, Ted Cassidy, Barbara Luna, Judy Pace, Jan Merlin, Michael Ansara, to Ralph Meeker, Jeremy Slate, Leslie Parrish, Rockne Tarkington, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Helen Hayes.
The best "Tarzan" episodes out of this series from it's first season "The Pearls of Tanga","The Day The Earth Trembled", "The Ultimate Duel", "The Deadly Silence:Parts 1 & 2", "Faces of Death", "A Life For A Life", "The Perils of Charity Jones:Parts 1 & 2", "The Ultimatum", "A Pride of Assassins", "The Fire People", "Jungle Dragnet", "Village of Fire", "Man-Killer", "The Prisoner","The Mask of Rona",and "The Prodigal Puma". The best episodes out of this series from it's second and final season were "Tarzan's Jungle Rebellion", "Last of the Supermen", "Alex The Great", "The Convert", "Mountains of the Moon:Parts 1 & 2", "Jungle Ransom", "The Four O'Clock Army:Parts 1 & 2", "End of a Challenge", "Trek to Terror","Tiger,Tiger", "The Blue Stone of Heaven:Parts 1 & 2","Hotel Hurricane", "The Thief Catcher" and "The Muguma Curse"....
TV Guide reported in June of 1968 that the "Tarzan" television series had a 31 share and finished in the top 40 during the 1967-1968 season,but NBC felt its demographics made it unappealing(due to the show's violent content) and it was abruptly canceled after 2 seasons after NBC rejected a renewal for its third season. Popular demand brought it back in repeats as a summer replacement over at CBS in 1969(on Saturday nights as the summer replacement for CBS' The Jackie Gleason Show). For the 1968-1969 season, NBC replaced "Tarzan" after 2 seasons on Friday nights in prime-time with the Western adventure series "The High Chapparal".
What's Happening!! (1976)
The Adventures of Roger, Dewayne and Rerun: Commemorating What's Happening on it's 40th Anniversary
On the commemoration of the show's 40th Anniversary,the television series "What's Happening!" remains a bonafide staple of the great African-American comedies of the 1970's. Interesting note about this series that was well received with the critics,but not with the powers that be over at ABC-TV(which aired it for three seasons). "What's Happening!" was loosely based on Eric Monte's 1975 theatrical picture "Cooley High" about a group of teenagers who lived in mid-1960's Chicago that became a huge box office hit on which Eric Monte wrote the screenplay and was directed by Michael Schultz. Eric Monte was also the co-creator of another successful television series "Good Times" and was also the creative force behind this series "What's Happening!" along with the executive production team of Saul Turtletaub, and Bernie Orenstein("Sanford and Son"),and Bud Yorkin("All In The Family")who served as executive producers of this series under there production company T.O.Y. Productions which was Bud Yorkin's second series after he ended his partnership with Norman Lear in Tandem Productions.
"What's Happening!" premiered on ABC's Prime Time Thursday night schedule as a summer replacement series for "Barney Miller" on August 5,1976. From the pilot episode and excellent reviews and astounding ratings the series was given a prime-time slot on Thursday nights preceding "Welcome Back Kotter" on November 13,1976. A total of 65 episodes were produced for this series until its final episode on April 28,1979. During it's three seasons on the air it faced strong competition of CBS' Powerhouse Drama "The Waltons" on it's Thursday night schedule. Throughout the series entire three season-run of "What's Happening!" only actors Ernest Lee Thomas(Roger),Fred Berry(Frederick "Rerun" Stubbs), Haywood Nelson(Dewayne),along with Shirley Hemphill(Shirley),and Danielle Spencer(Dee)were the only cast members that stayed with the series for all 65 episodes. Mabel King was with the series for Seasons 1 and 2 only for 42 episodes(1976-1978). Mabel King left the show due to creative differences with the producers and left the series at the end of its Second Season. "What's Happening!" during the first 2 seasons provided hilarious hijinks and big laughs each week as the lives of three working class African-American teens living in mid-1970's South Los Angeles and the adventures and mischief they get into while learning the lessons from their mistakes. Recurring characters of this series included Rob(Earl Billings)who owns Rob's Place where Shirley is a waitress and where the teens are regular patrons. Other recurring characters included Miss Collins(Fritzi Burr),a sarcastic high school history teacher and was the sponsor of the high school newspaper. Thalmus Rasulala appear in seven episodes of the series as Roger and Dee's father and Mabel's ex-husband. Other characters in recurring roles were Ray Vitte(Gene Walker),Jonathan Welsh("Big Earl" Barnett), David Hollander("Little Earl" Barrett),Leland Smith("Snake"),and Bryan O'Dell("Marvin").
Unlike Eric Monte's other series "Good Times","What's Happening!" only rarely and mildly ventured into social commentary. Most of the episodes focused of meeting girls, finding after school jobs, and planning for the future. All of that would changed dramatically by the show's third and final season when the main central character was written out of the show and replaced by Caucasian characters that really brought the series down in the ratings. The guest star appearances on "What's Happening!" were seasoned actors like Chip Fields, Vernee Watson, Debbi Morgan, Henry Robinson, Greg Morris, Tim Reid, David White, Dick Van Patton, to notable guest stars like Sorrell Brooke, Nathaniel Taylor, Judy Pace, Wolfman Jack, Stu Gilliam, Rosalind Cash, Percy Rodriguez, Malachi Throne, Theodore Wilson, Alice Ghostley, Joe Morton, Irene Cara, Renn Woods, Raymond Allen, Kene Holliday, Harold Sylvester, Alan Oppenheimer, to other guest stars Richard Deacon, Hal Williams, Faye Hauser,and Mark Warren. Not to mention "The Doobie Brothers" featuring Michael MacDonald appearing as themselves in a two-part episode "Doobie or Not Doobie"(Season 2,Episodes 16 and 17).
The best episodes from the first two seasons of "What's Happening!" are considered classics and I start with the show's pilot episode "The Runaway"(Season 1, Episode 1),and "The Birthday Present"(Season 1, Episode 2),"The Burger Queen"(Season 1, Episode 6),"The Christmas Episode"(Season 1, Episode 9),to notable others including "When Daddy Comes Marching Home"(Season 1, Episode 3),"My Three Tons"(Season 1, Episode 4),"Roger and the Older Woman"(Season 2,Episode 19),"The Testimonial"(Season 2,Episode 12),"Going,Going,Gone"(Season 2,Episode 14). Third season episodes include "Shirley's Fired"(Season 3,Episode 15),"Disco Dollar Disaster"(Season 3,Episode 1)and the final episode of the series "The Benefit Show" (Season 3, Episode 22). The phenomenal success of "What's Happening!" spawned continue repeats in national syndication after its three season prime time run at ABC.
A spin-off "What's Happening Now!" airing in first-run syndication from 1985-1988 with most of the major cast members in reprising roles. Even after 40 years this is a grand series that still entertains so Happy Anniversary to Roger,Dewayne and Rerun!!!!